Roughly two months after beginning his search for a new football head coach, Upper Cape Tech athletic director Ben Rabinovitch has found his replacement for hall of fame coach Ken Owen.
Meet Dayne Johnson: he was formerly an assistant with the Old Rochester Regional football program and a longtime youth football coach in the Marion, Mattapoisset and Rochester area.
“My background with football goes back to my Bridgewater State playing days, and a lot of my former teammates are now coaching nearby,” Rabinovitch said. “And the name that continually came up when talking with them was Johnson’s. I zeroed in on him right away.”
In a competitive field of roughly 20 candidates, including one state hall of fame coach, Johnson quickly rose as the cream of the crop. Coming from a program that’s two years removed from playing at Gillette Stadium for a Division 6 state title and a month removed from a sectional final, Johnson brings with him a winning pedigree to go with his foundational role as youth coach.
“This is super exciting. I have been wanting to be a head coach now for the last 10 years,” Johnson said. “I thought UCT would be a great fit and I’m certainly excited to have the opportunity to reach a goal I set awhile ago.”
A Louisiana native and Mattapoisett resident, Johnson has championed the tri-town youth football league, where his wife serves as the president and his children have either played football or done cheerleading. With Marion falling in the tech school’s district, that prior knowledge of potential incoming student-athletes appealed to Rabinovitch. Additionally his eagerness to establish a strength and conditioning program for the team, with the school’s opening a brand-new fitness center on campus recently, made it a good fit on both sides.
“There’s an opportunity to build a very, very strong program with the new facility and the kids that are going there. It feels like a perfect fit for me,” Johnson said. “There’s an opportunity to establish a new [strength and conditioning] program. We’re starting from square one with a new facility, fairly new athletic director, new football coach and a young roster.”
He went on to add that “strength and conditioning and team-building are huge foundational blocks. Games are won on Fridays and Saturdays, but teams are built during the offseason, in the weight room.”
Johnson will undoubtedly have big shoes to fill, replacing a living legend in Owen, who led the Rams to back-to-back playoff appearances, a Mayflower Athletic Conference Small title and an appearance in the small school vocational tournament. And before Owen, former head coach Mike Hernon quickly turned the football program into a force to be reckoned with, winning a state title.
“I know I have some big shoes to fill,” he said. “Ken and Mike did a great job here, having success as a young program.”
His former coach, ORR’s Bryce Guilbeault, had nothing but nice things to say of Johnson on his way out the door.
“I’ve worked with Dayne for five years. He’s a blue-collar, hard-working guy. The kids loved him here, and he’s great at getting his message across while still having fun. That’s his biggest thing: having fun. Football is a different sport. You don’t play two or three times a week. It’s only once a week with a lot of practice in between. It’s a grind. You have to keep it fun for the kids to grow the program, and he’s great at incorporating that.”
UCT Names Ernest Yeaw New Boys’ Lax Coach
After a season away from the game, former UCT boys’ lacrosse coach Ernest Yeaw is back at the helm as the Rams’ head coach.
Rabinovitch shared the news with the Enterprise yesterdayon Thursday, March 5.
“We’re very excited to have Ernie back,” the UCT AD said. “This opportunity came up and he jumped at it. He’s a plumbing instructor in the building and that now means all of our spring coaches are in the building, which is outstanding.”
Yeaw stepped down at the conclusion of the 2018 to spend more time with his family. He finished that year with a record of 10-9 and qualified for the Division 3 South Sectional tournament.
Rams To Add JV Girls’ Lax This Spring
Due to a large interest in the sport, the UCT girls’ lacrosse program will be adding a junior varsity team this spring.
Rabinovitch recently told the Enterprise that upward of 30 girls signed up for the sport and in order to meet the demand, they’ve added a sub-varsity squad this season.
Alaina Hatch is the current varsity head coach, and Kelsi Spencer, a math teacher at the school, will serve as the JV head coach.